The world of technology to collect and show gadgets

NEW YORK (AP) — CES, the annual tech industry event formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, returns to Las Vegas in January with hopes it will look more like it did before the coronavirus pandemic.

The show has changed its name to CES to better reflect developments in the industry and the event, which has expanded beyond audio and video to include automotive, digital health, smart phones, wearable devices and other technologies.

Companies and startups will showcase innovations in virtual reality, robotics and consumer tech items to media and other tech industry players at next month’s Gadget Show and organizers say their objective is to attract 100,000 participants.

It would be a stark contrast to the look and feel of the last two shows – the last of which saw a 70% drop in in-person attendance amid the spread of the Omicron variant. The one before was held virtually, replacing in-person displays and meet-and-greets with video streams and chats.

Even if organizers hit their target for next month’s event, which runs from January 5-8, it would still represent a 41% drop in attendance from the in-person show held in early 2020, before that the pandemic does not consume a large part of daily life. .

Kinsey Fabrizio, senior vice president of the Consumer Technology Association trade group, said more than 2,800 companies have registered to attend CES 2023.

Exhibitors include many startups and routine visitors like Amazon and Facebook parent Meta, both of which recently cut jobs and implemented hiring freezes after beefing up their staff during the pandemic. Other tech companies have also tightened their belts and laid off workers due to concerns about the economic environment.

The Associated Press spoke with Fabrizio about CES and what consumers should expect at the show. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length.

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Q: The tech industry has been going through a tough time over the past few months. How do you think this will affect the show?

A: Yes, the past couple of years the tech industry was booming. We are currently seeing a recalibration and as part of the recalibration there are layoffs. But in terms of CES, companies are getting big. And they’re going to showcase some of those solutions that were essential during the pandemic, and a lot of the solutions that have continued to change the way consumers live and behave. The momentum and excitement we see for the show has not been touched.

Q: Are most exhibitors startups?

A: We have a lot of startups and new businesses. More than 1,000 new exhibitors for CES this year, which is comparable to previous years. There will be regular customers at Eureka Park, where our startups are primarily based. They can stay there for up to two years. But we will also have a lot of companies that have been at CES for a while.

Q: The theme of the show is human security. How did you land on this?

A: We were approached by the World Academy of Arts and Sciences, which has a long history of working with the United Nations on human security. You can think of it as basic human rights – access to food, health care, etc. And they wanted CES to really use that theme because our exhibitors are showing how they’re solving some of these great global challenges through technology.

Q: Historically, CES has focused more on convenience and personal technology. So that will be a change.

A: It’s change. We talked about how technology solves challenges in the world. But we’ve never had a theme at CES before. It’s always been about innovation and great products for the consumer. But for this show, you’ll be able to see the theme on the living room floor and elsewhere. For example, John Deere showcases some of its agricultural technologies that really contribute to sustainability and access to food. Another company has created blockchain-based secure voting technology, which aligns with the UN’s political security theme.

Q: The metaverse is going to be another big topic. Many companies are investing in it. What can visitors expect at the show?

A: The metaverse is a key theme. We will have a part of the show dedicated to Web3 technology. There will also be shared and immersive virtual experiences. Automaker Stellantis and Microsoft have a partnership to create a showroom in the metaverse. There’s a company called OVR that’s created a solution where you can smell in the metaverse. People talk about unique ways to reach their customers and different experiences people can have there. It will therefore be a big theme among large and small exhibitors.

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